I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN is the title of Mary Higgins Clark's latest suspense tale. The narrative opens with a lovely scene of a young father pushing his three-year-old son, Timmy, on a swing. Out of nowhere, a man with a gun runs up to the man and shoots him in the head. He falls down dead. The little boy is screaming, "Blue eyes shot my daddy!" Another witness, an elderly woman, heard the killer say, "Timmy, tell your mother that she's next, then it's your turn."
Fast forward five years. The boy and his mother live in an apartment around the corner from her father, who is always on the spot to help and keep them safe. As a former policeman, he has good instincts and relies on his intuition.
"The suspense [Clark] manages to generate will keep readers up all night. Her writing style is always approachable, her characters are finely limned, and her plots are believable. I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN is a shining example of all these strengths."
Laurie Moran, Timmy's mother, is a television producer of reality shows. Her new idea is to open cold cases "that are anywhere from twenty to thirty years old, where we can get the point of view of the people who were closest to the victim." The first case she wants to tackle is that of socialite Betsy Bonner Powell, who was killed at a "Graduation Gala." That was the name millionaire Robert Nicholas Powell called the party he threw for his stepdaughter's college graduation. He included three of her closest friends, who were there when Betsy was murdered. All of the girls have been under suspicion for 20 years.
Laurie contacts Robert, who is in his 70s but is physically and mentally fit and excited about possibly finding out who killed his beloved wife. He never remarried, although the mother of one of the graduates thinks she can manipulate him into a wedding. The four graduates are skeptical about participating in such an emotional endeavor. But they are offered $50,000 each if they take the bait. Robert believes someone in this small group murdered Betsy, including his stepdaughter. These girls/women were best friends but went their own ways after the gala, never getting in touch with one another.
Money plays a large role in the attempt to unravel the case of Betsy Powell. Robert offers each of them an astounding amount of money in addition to what the production company is proposing. They all agree to participate in the series, which will be moderated by a popular television personality. Things are very uncomfortable for everyone who gathers at the Powell estate, including the housekeeper. And a pair of blue eyes are keeping close watch on all of the happenings.
Mary Higgins Clark has been writing for many years, and her books keep getting better. The suspense she manages to generate will keep readers up all night. Her writing style is always approachable, her characters are finely limned, and her plots are believable. I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN is a shining example of all these strengths.
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on April 4, 2014